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South Holland COVID-19 cases near 700, with area having county's highest infection rate

Nearly 700 cases of coronavirus have been reported so far in South Holland, new figures show.

Since March 6, when COVID-19 cases were first reported in the UK, 698 cases occurred in the area at a rate of 742.7 per 100,000 people (the district’s population is 93,980).

But officials say they do not have any concerns about the level of infections for this area.

The Department of Health and Social Care has released figures for the number of coronavirus cases by district council area.
The Department of Health and Social Care has released figures for the number of coronavirus cases by district council area.

More localised figures, in addition to countywide totals, were made available from Thursday after a complaint to the Department of Health and Social Care by South Holland District Council leader, Coun Gary Porter.

He said: “The requirement of dealing with COVID-19 is largely going to be done at a district level and so the original decision not to pass on the data was insane.

“I need any data that is pertinent to South Holland as soon as they have it because the people who have to run the test and trace system are local.”

Coun Porter confirmed that a rise in cases during May was due to increased testing at care homes.

The Government announced a £300million package in May for district and county councils in England to operate the NHS Test and Trace service to help contain and reduce the spread of coronavirus.

A district council spokesman said: “Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can book a test at one of the fixed, or mobile local test centres, or ask for a test to be delivered to their home.

“A mobile test unit recently visited Spalding and is expected to return again later this month.

“Public Health England (PHE) will receive referrals from NHS Test and Trace, undertake initial risk assessments of the referred situation, deliver containment advice to the setting and/or escalate to local outbreak management arrangements, if required.

“South Holland District Council receives information from PHE only in relation to businesses and it is taking proactive steps to support them by, providing detailed health and safety advice and working closely with higher risk sectors, such as the food processing industry.

"The numbers of covid cases in the district, being reported nationally, increased vastly last week as a result of the Government including all testing types in the figures.

"Interrogation of the figures which has just been released to the council shown that there was an increase of cases in May, which was in line with the national trend and coincided with the scaling up of the national testing programme.

"This accounts for the overall high number of cases in the area and the infection rate is now much lower.

"As a district, we will be working with Lincolnshire County Council and Public Health England to closely monitor both infection rates and cases across South Holland.

"The Environmental Health Team already deals with infectious disease in the community and has been working hard, in conjunction with Public Health England and Lincolnshire County Council.

"Our role is to support businesses with health and safety, and infection control, to minimise the spread of infection.

"A number of officers in the team have been working solely on this to provide dedicated advice to businesses, as well as policing the ongoing COVID-19 legislation governing businesses which must remain closed."

Tony McGinty, assistant director for public health at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “There are no concerns over the rate of positive COVID-19 cases in South Holland, or any other area, at this time.

"These new figures are not sudden new cases but they are cumulative, positive cases from the past three months at a time when testing was carried out, including results from mobile testing units and home testing kits since they have been available.

"Figures show that positive cases were peaking in May/early June but are now continuing to decrease significantly.

"We have the lowest rate of positive cases in the Midlands, apart from much smaller Rutland, whereas many other areas of the country and their district areas have much bigger rates of infection."

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